November Is National Stomach Cancer Awareness Month


dreamstime_s_55892503Since 2010, November has been the official month for stomach cancer awareness in the United States. Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, develops slowly over a long period of time. Because stomach cancer symptoms are rare or very subtle, it can be difficult to diagnose the condition. This is why stomach cancer awareness is so important and can save lives.

What Causes Stomach Cancer?

The exact causes of gastric cancer are not yet entirely known. Doctors have determined risk factors for stomach cancer, and they are continuing to discover links to stomach cancer, such as a genetic change from infections (H pylori bacteria) and tobacco use.

Stomach Cancer Risk Factors

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 24,000 new cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed in 2015, and more than 10,000 of these cases could be fatal. Stomach cancer typically affects men more than women. Risk factors for stomach cancer also include age (50 and older), ethnicity (Hispanics, Africans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders have an increased risk), diet, tobacco use, obesity, family history of gastric cancer, and previous stomach surgeries. Stomach cancer is more common outside of North America, particularly in developing countries, where it is often the leading cause of cancer-related deaths.

Stomach Cancer Symptoms

Stomach cancer could take years to develop, and symptoms may not appear right away or be obvious when they do appear. It’s important to speak with your doctor if you notice any of the following changes:

On their own, these symptoms may seem typical of an upset stomach or a common illness, but they are also the key symptoms of stomach cancer. If these symptoms are severe or recurring, please contact the GI specialists at SFGI to determine if there is a need for testing.

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